Jacob Zuma’s days in power are counted. This is the dominant view, but could it be wrong? On Wednesday last week, Business Day reported that at a November 27 gathering of the ANC candidates to succeed him, Zuma presented himself as unifier against a possible party split. He appeared to reposition himself from being a backer of former wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. One possible cause of this development may be the realisation by Zuma that Dlamini-Zuma may lose, having failed to escape the label of Manchurian candidate for an unpopular president. In this scenario, departure from power carries high risks for him: criminal prosecution for corruption, investigation of state capture. Another possible cause is that Zuma never expected a Dlamini-Zuma win. In this scenario, she is a foil against his adversaries, affording him space to consolidate government control. Zuma can rise as arbiter of the leadership contest, the unifier against a split and certain defeat in 2019. Zuma would fare poorl...

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